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African Wildlife
The art world was stunned to learn of the tragic death of renowned artist, conservationist and fellow WNAG member, Simon Combes. Simon was the victim of an attack by a cape buffalo at a game reserve in Kenya on December 12, 2004.

Simon was born in Shaftesbury, England, in 1940 and, at the age of six, moved with his family to an 800-acre farm in Kenya's Great Rift Valley. At the age of 18, he took a job in western Kenya, managing a 2,000-acre farm with about 150 employees. The following year he was drafted, serving in the Kenya regiment. He then applied for and received a commission in the King's African Rifles.
Combes' subsequent adventures included fighting in a guerrilla war with Somalia, leading Kenya's new airborne unit (requiring a visit to Parachute School in England) and promotion to major at the tender age of 24. Of greater significance, perhaps, was the start of a new hobby. During moments of inactivity in the northern desert, Simon began to draw, and eventually paint, the local nomadic people and the landscape in which they lived.

In 1969, he was persuaded to stage an exhibition of his work in Nairobi's New Stanley Art Gallery. The show was a near sell-out and an idea about an alternate career began to form in Combes' mind. Someone made the suggestion that he paint wildlife and the creative seed was sown. In 1974, Combes said farewell to the army, bought a small house on the outskirts of Nairobi and set up shop as a freelance artist.

In the three decades since, he achieved worldwide success, countless commissions and many prestigious awards—including the Society of Animal Artists' Award of Excellence. He was chosen "Artist of the Year" for the 1994 Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show. The success of his work has aided Combes as he seeks to raise awareness of wildlife conservation; he has made contributions and served on the councils of several conservation organizations. In June 2003 Combes was appointed Project Director Kenya for the UK based Conservation organization The Rhino Rescue Trust.

Combes is the author and artist of two critically-acclaimed books Great Cats and An African Experience.

Support for Conservation:

  • Africa & Beyond: The Art & Adventures of Simon Combes (2004)
     - Catalog of retrospective exhibition of 20 years of painting.
    Soft Cover-64 pages (2004)
    12" x 10": ISBN 0-86713-092-X
    $19.95 $25CDN 10GBP
    Author: Simon Combes
    Published by: The Greenwich Workshop
  • Great Cats (1990)
    Author - For adventures, travelers and those who just love the Discovery Channel from a comfortable chair—have we got a story for you! Combes' newest book details his adventurers tracking nine of the world's biggest feline predators in their native environments—including Mongolia, Nepal, South America and even Idaho. Combes wanted wild models for the book's paintings; big cats kept in zoos lose muscle tone and a vitality that is only seen in their counterparts that are free to hunt and roam.

    One of these wild cats is the subject of a giclée that accompanies the book—a young leopard Combes saw in the Aberdare Mountains National Park in Kenya.

    Full color throughout
    Hardcover - 168 pages (1998)
    11" x 10"; ISBN: 0-86713-048-2
    $35 US; $55 CDN

    Author: Simon Combes
  • An African Experience: Wildlife art and adventure in Kenya (1990)
    Author - A safari in Africa can be one of the great highlights of our lives, and Simon Combes has lived his life on one. He is one of the finest painters of wildlife alive and with this book makes his mark as a writer as well. The story of his life contained in this volume is an enthralling one: the son of an expatriate raised in colonial Kenya, a military career that spanned both sides of that nation's independence, a safari guide and artist with an eye for the adventure that is Africa. Simon's art has been published by the The Greenwich Workshop since 1980.

    Wildlife Art and Adventure in Kenya
    by Simon Combes
    Foreward by David Shepherd
    More than 80 full color images
    Hardcover - 144 pages (1990)
    9 7/16" x 12 1/8"; ISBN: 1-85310-124-9
    $29.95 US; $49.95 CDN
    Author: Simon Combes
Organization Membership:
  • Society of Animal Artists



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